From the opening sequence of her debut feature 'The Unloved', it's clear that Samantha Morton is confident in her direction - throwing the viewer into the world of this young girl Lucy, who comes from a home of neglect and abuse. No clear narrative, Morton bravely forces the viewer into the mindset of this little girl, unsure and unaware of the details surrounding why she is forced into a foster home, not knowing why she can't live with her mother. Visually the film is very reminiscent of Lynn Ramsey's Ratcatcher more so than the ultra-realist style of Ken Loach, using expressive visual techniques to convey mood, though this film is far more about innocence than guilt. Morton understands that less is more, using image over dialogue to tell the story as much as possible. One clear example being the relationship that forms between Lauren, a rebellious roommate in foster care, who Lucy looks to as a figure of guidance. When they first go out together, Morton simply uses the distance between the two of them, sitting on the bus, showing how it shrinks both figuratively and emotionally as they spend more time together. Morton also uses a lot of christian symbolism, relaying the hopeful spirit of Lucy, a young woman whose in bleak circumstances. While being atmospheric, sensible and a poignant tale of young Lucy's struggles, the film never cowers to manipulative means to make the audience feel for Lucy. Her father and mother are never portrayed as "evil monsters" but are merly shown through Lucy's point of view, as lost souls whose issues with temperament, commitment, and anger are almost equally as tragic. The type of scathing commentary usually associated with films about Foster Care is mostly absent, as the film never wavers from its intricate portrait of Lucy. 'The Unloved' never breaks from Lucy's point of view, creating an incredibly sharp, sensitive portrait of a young woman forced to live in the foster care system of the UK.
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